A Guide To The Beautiful Queensland Coast For Families

By: Rosie Stevens, ellaslist

We say Queensland, you say…?

Even if your response was a little lacklustre—we’re prepared to bet that it has something to do with beaches, stunning coastlines, crystal clear oceans or tropical palm trees.

That's because coastal holidays are Queensland’s forte—it’s what they do, and it isn’t hard to see why. With over 6,000kms of coastline to explore, the sunshine state has got everything from vibrant hotspots to secluded beaches and everything in between.

Unsure where to start? Here’s what you need to know about each of the major tourist regions in Queensland.

Gold Coast

Image: blog.queensland.com

Bordering NSW and stretching from Logan City to Tweed Heads, the Gold Coast is super-popular with families thanks to world-class beaches, theme-parks aplenty and stunning rainforests to explore. Easy to get to from all over the country thanks to a thriving airport, it’s the best choice for families who want a bit of everything from their holiday. The temperate climate makes the Gold Coast an attractive year-round destination, although ocean swimming might be a little too chilly during winter! 

Once you’ve exhausted the many theme parks that the GC is home to, the kids will love playing in the rockpools at Currumbin or splashing about in the ultimate calm-water spot of Tallebudgera Creek. Checking out the waterfall and underground glow-worm caves of Springbrook National Park is sure to delight mini explorers, or a sunset-seeking picnic at Burleigh Heads National Park will allow the kids to blow off some steam. If they’re keen for a trip to the rainforest, they’ll adore seeing the bird’s-eye view of the rainforest on a treetop walk at Lamington National Park. O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk comprises 180 metres of boardwalk suspended 15 metres above the ground in a canopy of flowering and fruiting trees—perfect for little adventure lovers.

Sunshine Coast

Image: Experience Oz

Further north than the Gold Coast and past Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast boasts pristine beaches, fun-filled family attractions (lookin’ at you, Aussie World), an abundance of natural beauty and water-sports aplenty. It’s renowned for its laid-back, beachy vibe as it encompasses coastal towns like Noosa, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Caloundra and Coolum Beach—all well-known for their enjoyable pace of life and sunny skies.

Sunshine Coast airport is, as the name would suggest, a gateway to the delights of the region. And when it comes to things to do, the beaches speak for themselves—Caloundra’s calm waters make it an ideal spot for families with young children, while Noosa’s surf entices those looking to spend some quality time on the board.

The aforementioned Aussie World is well worth a visit, as well as the Wildlife HQ Zoo and Noosa National Park for some koala-spotting! And of course, the Big Pineapple is a must-visit. 

Whitsundays

Image: Cruise Whitsundays

A collection of 74 islands (most of which are uninhabited), the Whitsunday Islands lie between the northeast coast and the Great Barrier Reef—making them a tropical paradise that needs to be seen to be believed. Boasting an airport at Airlie Beach, the gateway to the islands, plus another on Hamilton Island, it’s super accessible and affordable to get to.

The most popular of the stunning Whitsunday islands, it’s not hard to see why Hamilton Island is such a well-loved family holiday destination. With picturesque stretches of crystal water, white sandy beaches and plenty of water sports activities to keep kids of all ages amused, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more vibrant location to take the whole family. Fraser Island is also a family-friendly affair, with an abundance of resorts that boasts some of the best kids clubs in the country

Cairns

Image: Cruise Whitsundays

The obvious highlight of Cairns is the Great Barrier Reef, although surrounding beaches like Palm Cove, Clifton Beach and Mission Beach also offer great examples of life in the tropics. Flights to Cairns are both affordable and accessible, and you can easily access other areas like Port Douglas, Kuranda and Atherton Tablelands from the airport. 

If the Great Barrier Reef didn’t give them their fill of wildlife (and let’s face it, is there such a thing as too much?), little adventurers will love checking out Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest (but watch out for the crocs!). Cairns Esplanade itself is extremely kid-friendly, with a range of playgrounds for children of different ages. 

Hero image: Tourism Queensland
 

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